Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP)

Founded during the Freedom Summer of 1964, the MFDP challenged the Mississippi Democratic Party’s denial of voting rights to African Americans by attempting to displace them as the Mississippi Delegation at the Democratic National Convention. The NAACP, CORE, SCLC, and SNCC aided their cause at the convention, and MFDP delegate Fannie Lou Hamer spoke on national television about the violence and intimidation experienced by Mississippi blacks registering to vote. They did not succeed in gaining seats, but they advocated strongly and helped pave the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.